by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin
Answering a knock on the door, he was surprised to find a tree on his door step.
You just don’t expect firs to show up on your porch in the middle of the night and this one had spread fresh earth, needles and worms all over the porch too.
So he could not help being a little curt in his response.
Yes? What was it? What did it want?
The fir had asked him – in a rather high pitched falsetto – if he did intend to walk the dog that night.
Now, because the tree has sounded a little like Terry Jones doing Graham Chapman’s mother in the “Life of Brian”, he had right away suspected this to be some sort of practical joke. After all, why would a fir care if he did walk the dog or not? Did it need watering? But when, as a test, he had plucked a needle from the creature’s branches a storm of wails had answered the insult and he’d been called all sorts of things that a well brought up fir really had no business knowing about.
Hasty apologies sheepishly presented, he then explained that his dog had to be kept at the vet overnight, for a routine operation. For tonight, there was therefore no plan to go “walkies”. The fir started to shake. Wringing its branches, with noises of “how awful!” and laments, it told him that this could not be possible, that he just HAD to go out. Wouldn’t he come out, please, and make the world happen?
The world happen.
The night life and scenery around the house had only developed because he’d started to walk the dog. Previously there had been no need for an outside world to be there at all in the evening and – in order to cut costs of maintenance and operation – the area around his house had been kept void at night. With him starting to go out regularly, things had to be changed and although some – it would not name names – had grumbled about the hassle and expenditure, there was now a whole wild nocturnal setting out there for him to experience whenever he came out with the dog.
But it would only remain in existence if he did indeed came out every night. Otherwise, the auditing services would close down the whole operation and creatures like owls, fireflies, and fellow trees – with their dryads – would be sent back to some dank storage room.
And they quite liked it here.
They loved being in the open for once and the way the set designers had organised the place with twinkling stars and lovely mist ribbons. And the smells! The flowers fragrant after a hot day, the earth so rich, the mushrooms coming out in the moss. Why it made an old fir like him feel alive!
So would he – please – come out and play?